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Back to School Tips with Allergies and Asthma

For children with food allergies, returning to school can be a time of concern and even fear for the child as well
as their parents. A food allergic reaction can be potentially severe and is called anaphylaxis. A smooth transition into school can be accomplished by developing a coordinated, pro-active plan with the school and your physician.
Here is a short checklist:

  • Meet with the teacher, principal, school nurse, and food service coordinator. 
    • Identify the food(s) that need to be avoided and review the symptoms of the child’s allergic reaction.
    • Discuss avoidance of the particular food(s); for example: no food sharing, use a placemat where only safe foods can be. Consider an allergy free table.
    • Identify “safe” and “unsafe” foods; if age appropriate, teach how to read a food label.
    • Have a plan for cafeteria, classroom, bus, and other school-sponsored activities.
    • Have clearly labeled “safe snacks” available for the child.
    • Send a sack lunch or meet with food service personnel to review menus to identify“safe meals” and discuss “cross contamination” through using common utensils.
    • Review the correct use and indications of the self-injectable epinephrine and discuss the location of the epinephrine so it is immediately available if needed.
    • Identify if your child has asthma as this increases the risk for a severe food reaction.
  • Provide the school with a Food Allergy Action Plan signed by your doctor (see foodallergy.org)
    • Contains information on symptoms of an allergic reaction, when and how to use medications, contact information, photo, and follow up.
  • Provide school with self-injectable epinephrine based on child’s weight; check expiration date.
  • Provide child with medical identification as a bracelet, necklace or other form. They come in various styles and colors. There are many places these can be obtained such as bracelets from Lauren’s Hope (www.laurenshope.com).

On a given day, greater than 10,000 children miss school for uncontrolled asthma. Follow this easy-to-follow checklist prepared by the American Lung Association for children with asthma.  Go to:

http://www.lung.org/about-us/our-impact/top-stories/prepare-to-go-back-to-school-with-asthma.html

I don’t want to give away the details, but, there are 5 main steps and these are:

  • Learn about asthma
  • Talk to the school nurse
  • Schedule an asthma check-up
  • Develop an asthma action plan
  • Get a flu shot: 1 out of 5 Americans suffer from flu every year. Respiratory infections are one of the most common asthma triggers.

The goal is to prepare children with asthma so they can start the year healthy and ready to learn!

At Family Allergy Asthma & Sinus Care, we want students with food allergy and asthma to stay in school so they can learn and fully participate in educational activities and exercise.

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